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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 59: Beam 15
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 58: Hastings 152
After breakfast on the third morning, as the princesses left the table, the King said, “Well, Mr. Beam, it appears that you have solved the problem. How do I reward you?”
“Does it? It doesn’t look like that to me.”
“No? The girls have come to breakfast well-rested three mornings in a row. What are you seeing that I am not?”
“Y’Majesty, we know that they have a magic portal in their room; we don’t know how to open it. Several times your daughters have attempted to induce their guard to consume drugged food or drink; that Dawn does not eat or drink prevented that. Last night, the youngest--Olivia?--attacked her. She’s lucky to be alive.”
“I’m sorry; I had no idea your girl was hurt.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean Dawn; I meant Olivia. Dawn was instructed to defend herself but to attempt not to hurt your girls.”
“But, why would Olivia attack her?”
“The fact that the door has not opened strongly reinforces my original suspicion: the girls open it themselves, and are complicit in their abductions. That is, they’re not being kidnapped, they’re escaping because they want to go somewhere.”
“They’re teenaged girls, Majesty. I’m guessing they have boyfriends on the other side of that portal, or else some kind of party, maybe both. They spend all night out of the room because that’s what they want to do. We prevent them from doing so by guarding them. As soon as we remove that guard, they’re going to be out that door and off to wherever they go.”
The King sat thoughtfully for a moment.
“So, what do you suggest?”
The white-haired man shrugged. “We’re not really going to learn anything unless we let them open the gate and then follow them through it. It’s risky, but I think we can do it. We just have to be very attentive to catch them with the door open, without them realizing we’re watching. But I think we can manage something.”
The King nodded slowly. “Do it,” he said. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this.”
“Good enough. Now if your Majesty will excuse me, I’ve been awake all night, and expect to be awake again tonight, so I’d better sleep sometime.”
Beam rose and left the room.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twelve other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #291: Versers in Action. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: